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Dear Harvey,

Dear Harvey,

Your unwelcome and lingering visit has been anything but pleasant.  You’ve demolished coastal towns, flooded inland cities, and have displaced thousands of people.  You’ve dumped trillions (literally trillions) of water across the state of Texas, ripped families apart, shut down school districts, and have caused children to see and experience havoc that they will never forget.  In your wake you’ve left devastation, homelessness, ruin, tragedy, disaster, and death.

But Harvey, that’s not all you left us with.  After your prolonged stay…..

You left us with hope.  You left us with faith.

You see, Harvey, I am a Christian.  It’s the single most important thing that I am.  And while I am human, and my actions and thoughts may not always reflect that, I try to stay true to my faith.  While I’m watching regular civilians put their own needs aside to save the lives of others, I know not all of them are Christians.  Some are believers, while others have no beliefs at all.  Yet, what are they doing?  They are serving others in the most selfless way possible.  Many are leaving behind their own flooded homes and possessions to rescue others.

The thing that rocked me the most is the optimism I saw and heard from families who were leaving behind everything to the flood.  I’d say a majority of the people being interviewed just talked about how lucky they felt to be alive, and how thankful they were that someone came and rescued them.  It was shocking to see people casually talk about how their homes were completely underwater…that they lost everything, but still talk about their thankfulness.  There were even some individuals who boldly declared that because they have Jesus, they knew they would be ok.

Wow.

While watching all of this and worried about my own home flooding, I couldn’t help but think “Would I have that attitude?  Would I be able to rest in the fact that although my home is gone, I have peace knowing that Jesus is with me?”  My Christian answer would hopefully be “Yes, of course.”  But my real answer…I don’t know.  What would be the first thing I would say to a reporter after I just lost everything?  That’s some much needed self-reflection…thank you for that Harvey.

You left us united.  You left us with pride.

As I read and watched regular civilians step up to help, rescue, donate, and volunteer, I was immediately filled with pride for my state.  I even shared a video on my Facebook page along with a comment about how proud I was to be a Texan.

But that’s not true.

I’ve watched as every branch of the military has made their way into Texas to assist with water rescues and disaster relief.  Neighboring states, near and far, have raced to The Lonestar State to assist us.  Celebrities, sports teams, and organizations have already donated millions of dollars toward disaster relief efforts.  And the response keeps getting greater and greater.

And I realized…I’m not just proud to be a Texan.

I’m proud to be an American.  (cue Lee Greenwood)

I don’t know of any other country in the world that would set aside their differences over race, politics, religion, socioeconomic status, and more….even for a little bit, to come together and help a state that is truly in need.

It’s truly overwhelming and wonderful.

I bet you didn’t see that one coming, Harvey.

You left us as servants.

There is such an overwhelming number of volunteers and donations, that shelters and donation centers are having to turn volunteers away and send them to other places to where they can assist.  Isn’t that incredible??

But you know what?  It’s amazing how even in the midst of someone else’s tragedy, you can still find some way to turn it around and make it about yourself.  As humans, we are sinful…. it’s our nature.  And being “me” focused is sometimes my downfall.  Like most people, I felt the strong need to help the victims of this terrible event.

I wanted to do something big!

I wanted to do water rescues!

I wanted to open my home as a shelter!

I wanted to help feed thousands of people!

I wanted to donate thousands of dollars to disaster relief!

But…

I don’t have a boat to go do water rescues.

I have a toddler than hinders me from working shifts at the local shelter.

I am not really in a position where I can “significantly” assist financially.

I quickly fell into a feeling of helplessness, and the mindset that if I can’t do something “big”, then what’s point?  Would I really even be helping?  Go big or go home, right?

There I was…making it about me, and how I felt.

My thoughts slowly started shifting from “How can I help?” to “When can I go grocery shopping again? When can I send Lincoln back to school?  I wonder if Bath and Body Works has opened back up…I have a coupon that expires on the 31st.”

Not my proudest moment.  (Thanks for that self-reflection again, Harvey.)

My son always reminds me to pray before he goes down for a nap or bed, and before yesterday’s nap after he demanded that we “pray!”, I said a quick prayer asking: “Lord, please just reveal to me a way that I can help, no matter how big or small, and keep my feelings out of it.”

The fact is, it doesn’t matter if I feel like what I’m doing is “big” or “good” enough.  It’s not about me.  We are called to serve, especially in times of need, and if that means simply donating bags of clothing to a shelter, providing water or lunch for volunteers that are helping with disaster recovery, or buying a T-shirt in which the proceeds go toward relief efforts.  That’s ok.

The point is, we can all do something.  No matter how big or small, it counts.  It means something.  It could be something so insignificant to you, but mean everything to someone else.  Even taking the time to pray for those affected…it means something.

So Harvey, I know you tried your hardest.  You put up one heck of a fight.  And your persistence was more than a little irritating.

But you failed.

We will rebuild.  We will help others get through this.  We will love our neighbors, and we will serve one another.  Our faith will be strengthened, and spirits restored.  We will focus on people, instead of possessions.  We will pour out compassion and love to those who have lost.  We will come together, and we will come out stronger.

So thanks, but no thanks, for stopping by Harvey.  Better luck next time.

Sincerely,

Inspired

 

Here are some items you can purchase (for yourself or as a gift) in which 100% of the proceeds go toward Harvey relief efforts.

Texas Tea Towel

Sweet Home Texas T-Shirt

James Avery: Deep in the Heart of Texas Charm

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